There’s something rather calming about avocados. They’re a soothing shade of green, bland in a tasty kind of a way, and generally inoffensive.
At least that’s what I thought until yesterday, when a throwaway remark about this humble fruit sent me into a blind rage.
I was on the phone to Brother Dave, who happened to mention he’d had smashed avocado for breakfast.
“You mean mashed?”
“No, smashed. With poached eggs. And rather tasty it was too.”
Now, I’m aware smashed avocado is quite the thing at the moment, but sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in. And smashed is something that happens by accident to a window. It’s not a term that should be applied to an avocado.
Besides, smashing is not even a culinary skill; it’s a half-hearted cop-out for someone who can’t be arsed to mash out all the lumps, and so puts their utensils down before the job’s complete.
On top of that, smashed/mashed/pureed avocado is baby food. It’s not necessary for adults, at least not adults with teeth.
The same applies to pea puree – it’s just jazzed up mush that has no place outside of the Ikea Antilop.
My brother’s response was “ooh, you sound just like mum”. A fair comparison, but I wasn’t really listening, having already moved on to chargrilled, jus and other terms designed to make bog standard food sound more appealing.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t chargrilled another word for ‘burnt around the edges but still crunchy in the middle’? And jus a flaunty name for sauce?
And don’t even get me started on ‘twice-fried chips’. There’s an obesity epidemic, people! We’re being told once-fried chips are enough to set our kids up for a lifetime of chub rub. How come it’s OK for grown-ups to enjoy a double dose of lard?
The hypocrisy of my foodie outburst wasn’t lost on David. For years, our Whatsapp exchanges consisted solely of fancy food pictures as we endeavoured to outdo each other by hanging out in hip eateries, consuming artery-bursting quantities of pretentious scran (on expenses, of course. I was never that posh).
I remember once ordering three-way venison and sending him a photo as evidence of me living the culinary dream. Looking back, I now realise three-way bird sounds plain rude.
Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation that comes from having two bombastic toddlers. Maybe I’m bitter because I no longer have the freedom to jaunt around fancy-dan restaurants eating lobster ragout, and instead find myself nibbling microwaved pies in family-friendly restaurants that smell of vinegar. Either way, the whole food porn thing has suddenly got my goat.
Which is why I’ve decided to create flashy food in my own kitchen, so the whole family can be knobs.
Last night we had sautéed cylindrical pork parcels with pommes purée and onion jus, followed by diced herbs with frozen cream quenelle (fried sausages with mashed potato and onion gravy, followed by chopped bananas – I think bananas are a herb; Google it – with ice cream).
I was going to serve the dinner in old boots or watering cans, as is the done thing with contemporary cuisine, but I thought that was taking it too far, so I simply stacked it up like a Jenga game.
Eric wasn’t a fan of the onion jus so he substituted tomato jus (Heinz ketchup), and the bangers were apparently too chargrilled (burnt) for his liking. Bear’s teething at the mo, so he stuck to julienne vegetables with crushed chickpeas and wafer-thin slices of baked potato crumbs, followed by a deconstructed plantain cheesecake (carrot sticks with chunky houmous and Pom Bears, followed by a digestive biscuit, sliced banana and grapes, with a side pot of Philadelphia for dunking).
If anyone would like to join me in my mission to whip up ostentatious meals for the family please do get in touch. I feel a cookbook coming on.